Sheriff host Maccabi Haifa at the Sheriff Stadium in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round first leg on Wednesday (July 26).
The two sides entered the competition in the first qualifying round, with Sheriff besting Romanian side Farul Constanța 3-1, while Maccabi Haifa crushed Hamrun Spartans 6-1 on aggregate.
The hosts followed a similar path in the previous edition, reaching the third qualifying round before bowing out to Czech side Viktoria Plzen (4-2).
Zholto-Chornyye won the Moldovan Super Liga last season to book their place in the Champions League qualifiers. They have been active in the transfer market ahead of their continental campaign. Eight new players have been recruited, including Brazilian winger Luvannor, while seven others were recalled from loan.
Maccabi, meanwhile, clinched their third straight title in the Israeli Premier League last season to earn qualification for the Champions League qualifiers.
Last season, they played in four stages of the competition – second and third qualifying rounds, playoffs and group stage. They're yet to reach the knockouts.
The Greens have signed a couple of new players, while close to 20 are retuning from loan spells. However, new centre-forward Anan Khalaili will miss the clash due to a knee inflammation, as well as ailing influential left-back Sun Menahem.
Maccabi will hit the road on the back of three consecutive wins, with nine goals scored.
Sheriff vs Maccabi Haifa Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- Sheriff have lost once in their last ten games across competitions.
- The hosts have scored nine goals against one conceded in their last five games.
- Sheriff have won four times and drawn once in their last five home games.
- Maccabi have won thrice and lost twice in their last five away outings.
- Sheriff have won four times and lost once in their last five games, while Maccabi have won thrice and lost twice in the same period.
- Sheriff: W-L-W-W-W; Maccabi: W-W-W-L-L
Sheriff vs Maccabi Haifa Prediction
Sheriff paraded a couple of outstanding players last season, who could help their cause again this term.
Nigerian striker Rasheed Akanbi was the league’s top scorer award with eight goals while Senegal’s Mouhamed Diop netted four times and also had four assists. Ghanaian goalkeeper Razak Abalora registered seven clean sheets, the second-most in the league.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa are seeking a replacement Omer Atzili, who led the league with 21 goals and 12 assists last season. The team may struggle for goals without him.
Sheriff are expected to pull through in the first leg due to their home advantage.
Prediction: Sheriff 2-1 Maccabi
Sheriff vs Maccabi Haifa Betting Tips
Tip 1: Result – Sheriff
Tip 2: Game to have over 2.5 goals – Yes
Tip 3: Sheriff to score first – Yes
Tip 4: Maccabi to score - Yes